Fitting tribute to popular Hartlepool church organist

The late John Ross who played the organ at St George United Reform Church in Hartlepool for more than 60 years
The late John Ross who played the organ at St George United Reform Church in Hartlepool for more than 60 years

The rich sounds of a refurbished church organ will ring out in an upcoming event in memory of the man who played it for more then 65 years.

St George’s United Reformed Church in Hartlepool is staging a concert later this month to celebrate the improvement to the organ which was installed more than 100 years ago.

It will also serve as a memorial to former organist John Ross, who played it from 1946 until he died, aged 92, in 2013.

Church elder Chris Eddowes said: “We are having a double celebration concert on Saturday, February 27. It is an organ concert to celebrate the wonderful sounds now it has been refurbished and also a memorial concert for our late organist John Ross.

“John had been playing the organ longer than I have been alive. It is really down to John that it was kept in such fine fettle for over 60 years.”

Three organists, who each have some personal connection to John, will play at the concert. They are Ian Pounder ,of St Hild’s Church, who knew John for years, former pupil Chris Haresnape and John’s successor at St George’s, Peter Walker.

Peter came up with the idea of the church holding a series of lunchtime concerts to help raise some cash to fund the organ repairs.

Mrs Eddowes added: “These were lovely half hours of peace in the middle of a busy day and money was also raised by donations.”

A special service was held in church on January 13, 2014 to mark 110 years to the day since the organ was first installed.

It was paid for by a Mrs Baines, who was a member of the famous Gray shipbuilding Hartlepool family, and her husband, who were both organists, themselves.

Over the years it has been admired and enjoyed by thousands of people during many special occasions

The concert on February 27 starts at 7pm and all are welcome.

Tickets cost £7.50 and also includes a supper afterwards.

They are available now from members of the church or from the Cornerstone Cafe attached to St George’s on Park Road.